On January 13, the Seventh Circuit issued an opinion in Spurling v. C&M Fine Pack, Inc., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 660, reversing an Indiana District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer on a narcoleptic employee’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim, but affirming the dismissal of the employee’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. It is a case with clear implications for employers regarding the ADA and the FMLA.
Articles Discussing Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA.
Executive Summary: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a request for a reserved, free on-site parking space could have been a request for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) even though parking did not relate to the performance of the employee’s essential job functions. See Feist v. State of Louisiana, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19133 (5th Cir. Sept. 16, 2013).
For ages, the employer community has awaited guidance from the EEOC regarding how much additional leave, if any, an employer is required to provide an employee as an ADA reasonable accommodation when an employee is unable to return to work after exhausting FMLA leave. (Depending on what the EEOC says in that eventual guidance, however, employers may regret asking for it in the first place.)
In light of the EEOC’s litigation over automatic termination provisions under the ADA (we’ve beaten you over the head with it here and here),
The scenario is all too common: An employee takes and exhausts 12 weeks of FMLA leave and still cannot return to work. At this point, the employer is left with a dilemma — does it terminate employment because the employee cannot immediately return to work, or does it consider approving more leave than the 12 weeks provided for under the Family and Medical Leave Act? This series of events is a regular trap for employers and, often enough, an employer gets ensnared in the trap without first analyzing its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Thanks to those who attended my webinar last week with EEOC Regional Attorney John Hendrickson on “Examining the Use of ‘Leave’ as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA.” If you missed the program, you can access the webinar and materials here. As the survey feedback indicated, it was a great opportunity to discuss issues specifically relating to leaves of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.